He and Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford are negotiating a contract.
If they’re able to strike a deal, Johnston will succeed Dan Bylsma, who was fired June 6.
Johnston has been the coach and general manager of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.
Dreger has said the Pens will have a 12-noon presser today to announce the hiring. After being spurned by former AHL coach Willie Desjardins, it seems the Pens will dip into the junior pool to pull out a coach.
The fan mood seems skeptical, but who knows, no games have been played yet. Johnston has some NHL experience, he was an assistant/associate coach in Vancouver and Los Angeles for 8 combined years from 1999-2008. After that, he went to Portland and turned that team into a power house club that was frequently a championship contender.
Can a guy go from juniors to command the respect of NHL MVP caliber players in Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and the rest of the veteran core of the team? We'll find out, but it seems like the Penguins think Johnston is the man for the job.
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